Long-term microstructural stability of oxide-dispersion strengthened Eurofer steel annealed at 800 °C
Oxide-dispersion strengthened ferritic martensitic steels such as ODS-Eurofer grade are good candidates for structural applications in future fusion power reactors. Long-term annealing treatments in vacuum were carried out in cold-rolled samples (80% reduction in thickness) from 1 h up to 4320 h (6 months) at 800 °C, i.e. the maximum temperature in the ferritic phase field, to follow its softening behavior. The microstructural stability of this steel was mapped using several characterization techniques including scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, electron backscatter diffraction, Vickers microhardness testing, X-ray diffraction texture measurements, low-temperature electrical resistivity, and magnetic coercive field measurements. ODS-Eurofer steel displays good microstructural stability. Discontinuous recrystallization occurs at the early stages of annealing resulting in a low volume fraction of recrystallized grains. Extended recovery is the predominant softening mechanism at this temperature for longer times.